SEVEN MONTHS AND COUNTING SINCE THE ELECTION IN 2014 AND THIS UP LED GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT OF ST. MAARTEN HAVE NOT INIATED ONE PROGRAM THAT WOULD BENEFIT THE ORDINARY PEOPLE IN ST. MAARTEN. IT IS VERY IRONIC THAT EVERY TIME YOU MEET PEOPLE ON THE STREET THEY ARE VERY DISAPPOINTED FOR THEY HAD EXPECTED TO SEE THIS COUNTRY MOVING FORWARD IN PARTICULAR IN THE AREA OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS.
Philipsburg– Just recently I met a senior citizen at a Supermarket and he was boasting about how he assisted a particular candidate that is now part of the parliament of St. Maarten. My question to him was has this particular parliamentarian since being in office submitted any type of proposal to the government that would make the life of the ordinary citizens of St. Maarten and in particular the seniors, any better. His answer was negative. I repeated a line that was used during the last debate of the leaders where I stated that you cannot put the same leaders back in office and expect different results. All the leaders that are now in parliament were either in government at some time since St. Maarten acquired its’ separate status or they were in parliament. What have they done for the ordinary people to this date? The newcomers, first time parliamentarians or candidates in the last election would have to tow the party line. Smile and grin with the leaders and hope that they would come into consideration sometime in the future.
This brings us to a very important issue. Imagine that after a citizen work his whole life time and reach the pensionable age and collect a meager pension. That pension must also be reported when filing your annual income tax. Yes, it is also taxable. Wouldn’t you believe that one of those members of parliament would have at least submitted a motion during one of the debates to exempt the pension from taxes? They all have promised during the campaign that they would have increased the pension as well as the minimum wage. But once again that was to fool you the people and you fell for it once again. The least this parliament can do for our seniors is to allow them to have some more money in their pockets to enjoy their lives by exempting the pension from taxes. This parliament if desires can have these changes done before the end of this fiscal year 2015. I don’t agree that it is the government that has to bring most of the changes to legislation as is being mentioned by many of the members of parliament. And if they continue to insist that that is the case then most of them do not know the role of a parliamentarian and it behooves the leadership of parliament to organize a crash course in the role of parliament as stipulated in the constitution.
Just recently a Member of Parliament called on all the senior citizens to apply for the GEBE relief program. To me this is a crying shame that our seniors have to apply for this program. As far as my memory serve me right NV GEBE has one of the most sophisticated computer system on the island and some of the best programmers at its’ disposal. Whenever a client applies to NV GEBE for connection they must submit some sort of identification to come into consideration. That identification mentions amongst other things the name and the date of birth of that client. NV GEBE already has that personal information of that client stored in their computer and if not they should enter that data. With that data NV GEBE can identify all the clients that reach the age for relief and grant it to them automatically. None of our senior citizens should have to apply, they should notice that decrease in their utility bills and give thanks to God for being able to receive some of their flowers while they are still alive. We are no longer living in a stone age and we cannot continue driving the bus in reverse and hope that our people would be contented. It is in the hands of those in parliament and the government to improve on the quality of lives of our senior citizens.